Centex goes after renters with new model

Centex, one of the nation’s largest residential builders, is rolling out a low-cost model aimed at Gen Y renters. Called “The Independence Series,” the homes sell for as little as $105,000 in the San Antonio market, suggesting an all-in monthly payment of approximately $775. In the Chicago area, prices start in the $129,000 range, suggesting an all-in monthly payment of approximately $999. Both assume a 3.5% down payment. 

With five floor plans, the buyer has the flexibility to select specific architectural options within their monthly mortgage payment. The one- and two-story plans range from 1,100 to 2,300 square feet with two to four bedrooms. Optional features may include: mudrooms, flex rooms, basements, and lofts.

Introduced in the San Antonio, Chicago and St. Louis markets, Centex now plans to roll out the Independence Series in other U.S. markets over the next 12 months.

"After absorbing multiple years of significant increases in rental rates, the scale has tipped for many apartment dwellers in favor of purchasing a home," said Deborah Meyer, senior VP and chief marketing officer for PulteGroup, the parent company of Centex. "Based on today's lower home prices, coupled with mortgage rates on 30-year, fixed-rate loans that are at or near record low levels, home attainability has never been better. There is strong demand for the Independence Series. Not only are renters extremely motivated to purchase a new home at a tremendous value, but they also see the financial benefit to owning a home as a long-term investment.”

When designing these homes, Centex allowed consumers the flexibility to make trade-offs to choose the architectural options desired within their monthly payment, such as bedroom count vs. bath count vs. garage car count. "We invested considerable time and resources to fully understand consumer desires and sentiment of this demographic," Meyer said. "This new product isn't a modification of an older floor plan, it represents a completely new design.”